ACS Distance Learning 2.0
Now that the first week of distance learning at ACS is behind us, comprehensive feedback from faculty, students and parents on what is working and what should be improved is available and systemized. As the College community is delving into teaching and learning online in the current circumstances, it is only natural that the process will keep evolving towards serving the academic and social needs of our students even better.
ACS faculty are constantly providing feedback and sharing new ideas to improve the distance learning experience of their students. These ideas include assigning interesting questions of the day and exit tickets so that teachers can detect which students are engaged in the learning process, recommendations on different learning apps and online resources, introduction of weekly agendas for students and many more pedagogical practices.
Some aspects of distance learning that the ACS Administration is currently evaluating include improving the efficiency of giving online lessons and adjusting the ratio between teaching and individual work assignments. Additionally, the school is looking at the amount of time necessary for students to complete given work and ways for helping them better adapt to the shift of managing their time in an online learning environment.
Being socially active is almost as important as being academically challenged, so the school is encouraging virtual group work via Google Hangouts and Google Docs for co-authoring team assignments, intended to mirror the physical student classroom experience. Short touch-base video Google Hangouts are also emerging as a great way for students to remain visually connected with their teachers and with each other, almost just as on-campus consultation periods or lunch breaks together.
Student-driven initiatives at ACS are also adapting. For example, the traditional ACS Chess Tournament went online and students were eager to practice and compete.
The American College of Sofia is fortunate to have a solid technological foundation which is coming to great use during these turbulent times. How technology is being utilized is under constant appraisal as the College is exploring ways for optimization, allowing students and teachers more time and freedom to go about their academic goals through efficient online communication and collaboration.
Incidentally, distance learning is also constantly teaching the community important lessons on self-awareness, reflection and grit. ACS is closely monitoring the learning process for our students and making improvements and adjustments on the go as needed, with the ultimate goal to continue pursuing the College’s mission or providing the best high-school education possible, given the circumstances.